Albert Mensah made his first shot on Friday Night Fights count, pulling off a majority decision upset over an absolutely insanely active Michael Katsidis tonight in Las Vegas, winning on scores of 95-95, 96-94, and 98-92. Bad Left Hook scored it 96-94 for Mensah.
This may have been the end of the road for Katsidis, the incredibly tough, incredibly durable, incredibly gritty Australian warrior. He's such a warrior of a fighter that even though I hate calling fighters "warriors" (it's just overused and cliche, I think), he's someone I fully feel deserves the title.
But at 31, and having taken some amazing punishment along the way, the time might be right for the Aussie to consider whether or not it's worth going forward. He said this week in an interview with Karyn Bryant that he didn't "need" to keep fighting. "When the day comes that I don't feel I can get any better, I'm not gonna be perform my best and be at that elite level, well, I'm out," he said.
That day may have come, and if it did, he went out in a blaze of glory befitting someone of his character.
Katsidis (28-6, 23 KO) has now lost four of his last five, and while the Ls that came against Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero, and Ricky Burns certainly weren't bad losses, given that those guys vary from top fighter in the weight class today to living legend, this is a new chapter. Mensah (25-3-1, 10 KO) is not a top fighter at 140 pounds. He's not a living legend. He's not an elite name. And he won this fight clearly, even though the 98-92 card was probably a bit wider than is truly defensible.
Mensah doesn't really look like a future contender. He's not exactly refined and at 29, probably doesn't figure to get a whole lot better. He doesn't look world class by any means, but he could be in a lot of fun TV fights if matched right. I agree with the notion that if matched against less of a slugging/brawling type, he could also be in some stinkers. He himself wasn't pleasant to watch, but painful as it was at moments, his ability to cream Katsidis with heavy blows was violent, bloodthirsty entertainment.
You certainly can't say Katsidis didn't go down swinging. I'd type out the on-screen punchstats from CompuBox, but instead, look at this screenshot. This really happened tonight:
Katsidis threw 1,148 punches in 10 rounds. Mensah's very high 870 punches was dwarfed by what Katsidis put on display.
So how did Katsidis lose? Because Mensah hit him harder, hit him cleaner, and rocked him a handful of times in the fight, including clearly having him in trouble in the final two rounds, when Katsidis appeared to be fighting more on gut instinct and his undying desire to just keep going in every fight he's in. He couldn't really be deterred. But he also wasn't able to out-fight his opponent on this occasion.
It was really a fantastic fight. If Katsidis does choose to hang it up here, it would be with no shame. He left every ounce of what he had in his soul in the squared circle tonight, and when the decision was read and he found out he'd lost, he smiled and laughed with Mensah's jubilant team.
He is a rare breed in modern boxing. You couldn't dislike him if you tried. But it looks like the gunslinger is out of ammo.
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In the co-feature, the favored Artemio Reyes lost his rematch with Alan Sanchez via TKO-1, when Joe Cortez jumped in to stop the fight after Sanchez had rained down a series of damaging blows upon Reyes, who went down and argued the stoppage, but I thought clearly should have been stopped there. Sanchez was really blowing him up with both hands, and it was getting ugly.
Reyes was fighting just days after the funeral of his father, who passed about a week ago. More than the fight itself, I think great credit should be given to Artemio Reyes for even showing up tonight. He's obviously been through a lot the last few days and couldn't have been at 100% mentally. Since they're 1-1, I think the two should have a third fight at some point. It won't be the Gatti-Ward trilogy, but this one just didn't look or feel right to me, and that's not meant to diminish what Sanchez did. Both men showed up to their jobs and Sanchez did his better this time. But hats off to Artemio Reyes and condolences from those of us at Bad Left Hook.